Robot Wisdom Weblog edited by Jorn Barger [Moon Cam]

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Next New Moon: Sat 9 Oct 06:35CDT. Sosa:63 SiteSearch Cams: A : W : E : Eu

Headlines: (jump to #main below)
Nice premise for a videogame (Nervana)
Claim that Waco was well-bugged, advance fire warning (via Drudge)
The View From Here (New weblog)
Deja.com now posting bug notices (via alt.fan.dejanews)
Finally someone comments on IPv6 privacy issues (via Slashdot)
Thursday book review section (UK Times)
If Trent Reznor wrote operettas... (alt.religion.kibology)
New stuff on Bush at Consortium (Consortium)
Decent Winona Ryder update (Go)
Conservative grrl-zines on campus (LinguaFranca)
Righteous-sounding philosophy zine (LinguaFranca)
NEW READERS: this 'headlines' section is just part of the daily Weblog (More below)
New Lingua Franca (academic gossip) (Lingua Franca)
Volunteer killed by gene-therapy experiment (NewSci)
Fine new New Scientist (NewSci)
Excellent review of new Patti Smith bio (NYObserver)
Decent Byron on Playboy.com IPO (NYObserver)
Decent new CounterSpin (30min RealAudio) (FAIR)
More on the Ben Katchor opera (VVoice)
Wire story on weblogs! (AP-Cox)
CamilleP even more scattershot than usual (Salon)
Short'n'sweet Susie Bright (Salon)
How Laurie Anderson composed her Moby Dick (VVoice)
Teeny color Tom Tomorrow (VVoice)
New Onion (The Onion)
New Village Voice reshuffles contents page (VVoice)
Party of the millennium (pix) (Ellen)
Stolen Sounds, Plagiarism & Musical Crimes (Google)
Russian Reggae Rasta Roots (Google)
'Tin Drum' excerpt by Gunter Grass (Bold Type)
Excellent update on John Cleese (London)
Provocative Wolff on political 'counterprogramming' (NYMag)
Dvorak on script kiddies (PCMag)
Very excellent issue of Progressive Review (ProgRev)
Excellent Tuesday book review section (UK Telegraph)
Excellent day for Steve Bogart's weblog (Don't miss)
Pee-Wee's R-rated biopic? (AIC)
Weblogs sorted by place w/map (via GeneHack)
Gossip about Allen Ginsberg (GettingIt)
Funny, useful post about spam-tracking (news.admin)
Oops, maybe Depleted Uranium wasn't the best idea in Kosovo (via Drudge)
Update from the hiatus-ing Architect of Change (Ellen)
Detailed account of current romance w/Geof (JenniJournal)
Overview of databases not indexed by search-engines (via RBuzz)
J Peterman on bankruptcy of J Peterman (SFGate)
Sheldrake on canine ESP (WashPost)
Unrevealing bio of Rowan Atkinson (UK Times)
Silly origins of the Beats (UK Times)
Sunday book review section (UK Times)
Dartmouth's worst professors (via rec.arts.books)
Muzsikas w/Marta Sebestyen do Bartok (WashPost)
New currency offers cosmetic surgery to dead presidents? (KansasCity)
Matt McIrvin reviews 'Brazil' (alt.religion.kibology) [formatting fixed]
Unix command-line 101 (SunWorld tutorial)
October issue of SunWorld magazine (SunWorld)
RegExp on CVS in the scripting landscape (SunWorld)
Wallace Stevens's alleged deathbed conversion (Google)
Milan ready-to-wear season (France)
Saturday book review section (UK Times)
Conducting poll of most popular Irish poems (Irish Times)
Nice poem about silkies (Poems.com)
Intro to Hinduism 101 (SJMerc)
Jakob Nielsen reviews Newsweek.com (InetWorld)
Earthweek map features elephant rampage, flamingo mystery (CNN)
Various Marilyn Monroe documents (Smoking Gun)

Fri, Oct 8, 1999

Two new topics at the RWWL BBS: http://greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001Xkr

Why do Slashdot's forums suck so bad? This is a two-parter: Why are the posters to Slashdot's forums overwhelmingly jerks? and How can you set things up there to effectively minimise the noise? (Not theoretically, but what actually works for you.)

Amd: http://greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001Xl3

Is Nervana worth getting excited about? Slashdot today (8 Oct 99) features a supposedly new 3D algorithm in a game called Nervana. The demos and documents suggest the 3D part was a late addition, and the real interest of the designer is artificial personality. Anyone see anything cool there, or is it as lame as the Slashdotters claim?

Great thread on computer graphics at Slashdot: [multipage, very noisy] http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=99/10/07/1620257&mode;=flat

The difference between ray casting and ray tracing is that tracing is done recursively while casting is not. By that I mean that in ray tracing after a primary ray from your eye hits a point in the scene you then spawn new reflected and or refracted rays from that intersection point and those rays spawn other rays and so on. In ray casting you just stop with the first hit and call it good enough. Consequently ray traced scenes can (and ususally do) have lots of interreflections between objects with mirror-like surfaces, but in Wolfenstein and Doom everything is opaque and diffuse.

...Now, i may have misunderstood the article and webpage for this technology, but what i got out of it is that this uses something like a fractal generation system, using a formulae and number of iterations, to generate real objects. Not just a mesh of points some of which have polygons drawn between them, but something closer to a physical reality.

..."This is the coolest 74K ever" I suggest you check out some of the 4k intros on ftp.scene.org. They've got 3d AND sound too. In 4096 bytes.




Wed, Oct 6, 1999

Here's another new web-design page. I expect it will flesh out over the next few days or weeks: http://www.robotwisdom.com/web/resources.html

Web publishing has brought about an entirely new paradigm for authors-- a good website must integrate all the available resources on that topic. I expect that in a few years, many schools will have discovered that building such synoptic sites is an ideal class activity, so every topic will be covered by dozens or hundreds of different, well-maintained sites...


Note to new readers:

I've been 'on sabbatical' for the last couple of months, working mainly on a shorter Finnegans Wake [qv]. Normally this section of the weblog would have ten or twenty news stories per day, but I'm not even reading my regular sources of daily headlines. See the orientation FAQ for background.



Tue, Oct 5, 1999

Where I disappeared to today: http://www.robotwisdom.com/jorn/dgate.html

This is an experiment in annotating a very difficult novel on the Web. "Damascus Gate" should work especially well because it's grounded in a very complex, very real, very contemporary conflict-- and one that's already well-documented on the Web.


Poll:

Farewell, Akio Morita: How many Sony gizmos have you bought in your life? (not including media or accessories, just Walkmans and up, and include gifts you bought for others but not gifts you received)
View results



Mon, Oct 4, 1999

WebWord interviews... me! http://webword.com/interviews/barger.html

Q: Do you expect to get rich off the Net?
A: Selling enough books to live on is all I'm really after. But my ideas are so unfamiliar I've had to 'build my brand' somewhat first. And the weblog has been wonderfully effective for this, because it forces me to focus almost entirely on more familiar topics instead of just Joyce and AI and hypertext theory.


I boiled the 400k shorter FW down to 40k: http://www.robotwisdom.com/jaj/shortwake.html

The online shorter Finnegans Wake (synoptic table of contents)


New toc-page for NYRB: http://www.nybooks.com/nyrev/content.html (Ian Feldman)

Lars-Erik Nelson:
- Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir by John McCain with Mark Salter
- John McCain: An American Odyssey by Robert Timberg
Charles Simic: Who Cares? {Serbs]
Andrew Hacker:
- Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man by Susan Faludi
- The Decline of Males by Lionel Tiger
- The Dark Side of Man: Tracing the Origins of Male Violence by Michael P. Ghiglieri
- What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us by Danielle Crittenden
- A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue by Wendy Shalit
- The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World by Helen Fisher
Steven Weinberg: A Designer Universe?
Charles Rosen: On Playing the Piano
Thomas Flanagan:
- True at First Light by Ernest Hemingway
- Hemingway: The Final Years by Michael Reynolds
- Hemingway and His Conspirators by Leonard J. Leff
- Hemingway: The Postwar Years and the Posthumous Novels by Rose Marie Burwell


Another chapter in Dvorak's home-broadband trials: [3pg w/wine tips] http://boardwatch.internet.com/mag/99/sep/bwm33.html

This is the irony of DSL. The affluent suburbs where people can afford it and want it most can't get it.

Let me say this: No California Cabernet is worth over $60 a bottle and no California Zinfandel is worth over $30.



For me, the most interesting thing about Jakob Nielsen's latest 10-commandments is that he's thinking exclusively in terms of e-commerce sites: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/991003.html

6. Use product photos, but avoid cluttered and bloated product family pages with lots of photos.

(Also, #8 is very evil, relying on a non-universal browser-feature for a function that needs to be treated much more directly. And #10 is plain scary!)


Sun, Oct 3, 1999

The Hunger Site is down to three sponsors: http://www.thehungersite.com/cgi-bin/donate.pl


Sat, Oct 2, 1999 (happy 120th Wallace Stevens [qv])

Excellent JenniJournal retells an old e-romance: http://www.jennicam.org/~jenni/journal/1002.html

He said he felt like the three biggest things in his life were his job, his sanity, and me. He said he could only have two at a time. He picked the first two...


Major new issue of the New Internationalist looks at the effects of sanctions on Iraq: [multipage] http://www.oneworld.org/ni/issue316/contents.htm

Outstanding Norman Solomon on the budget 'debate': http://www.fair.org/media-beat/990930.html

In the midst of an intense national debate over federal budget priorities, TV networks could broadcast live from food stamp offices, emergency rooms at public hospitals, day care centers, school breakfast cafeterias, drug rehabilitation centers and nursing homes for elderly Americans on fixed incomes.


Keeper headlines:

College Music Journal Top 20 list (CMJ)
Online events calendar by College Music Journal (CMJ)
Haircuts: How to Do Them Digitally (Google)



Fri, Oct 1, 1999

Congrats to This is Hell voted best radio show in Chicago by the readers of New City.

New first chapters: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/books/front.htm

- "The Catastrophist," fiction by Ronan Bennett
- "The Million Dollar Mermaid," nonfiction by Esther Williams and Digby Diehl
- "The Sun King," fiction by David Ignatius


Excellent glimpse of punk and politics: http://www.thenation.com/issue/991018/1018temple.shtml

After moving to DC, Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna continued her outreach at such venues as Blair High School in Maryland, where she spoke to student assemblies about rape and the services available to women who have been abused. The response from girls at the public school was overwhelming, and school administrators cleared out the nurse's office to bring Hanna back for private sessions with students.


Keeper headlines:

Free linkchecker for one page at a time (via Google)
Limited free 404-link checking (via WebWord)
The Daily Web Log (via WebWord)



Thu, Sep 30, 1999

[Liffey map] I've been adding a lot of hyper-bells-n-whistles to the still-unfinished shorter Finnegans Wake: http://www.robotwisdom.com/jaj/shortwake.html

Take the long way home: http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/99/Sep/expedia.html

Highlights from the Microsoft-Expedia-generated directions follow...


Phrases I saw in my dreams that aren't anywhere else on the Web:

dog flue ['dog flu' though]

one-time barometers

Person I shook hands with in my dream:

David Koresh


Keeper headlines:

A calculator-in-the-URL hack (Bodin)
Definitive overview of hi-speed Net access? (Salon)
FAQ on pattern languages (via Slashdot)
Online Ivan Illich etexts (via OLB)



Wed, Sep 29, 1999

Don't miss: Famous last words (nuclear waste disposal dept.): http://www.seattle-pi.com/local/nuke27.shtml [LakeEffect]

In fact, in June 1996, the Energy Department crossed hydrogen off its list of problems at SY-101; in October of that year, it announced that "all safety issues with the tank are now understood."


Ralph McGehee's summary of an NYT report on the CIA's new venture capital firm: [Deja URL]

In-Q-It will work on smarter CIA search engines, better ways to visualize data, and better security for CIA web surfers. [NYT link, req reg]


I finally dug deep enough into Danny Sullivan's Search-engine Watch site to find the good pages:

Summary chart of search engine features [qv]
Which search engines support which syntax features [qv]
Which search engines offer which auxiliary modes [qv]
Which search engines use which indexing techniques [qv]

He calls double-quotes 'boolean multiplication'!?? http://www.searchenginewatch.com/facts/math.html

Using Quotation Marks To Multiply


Hunger Site FAQ: http://www.thehungersite.com/frequentquestions.html

Each sponsor on the "Thank You For Your Donation" page pays one half cent per donation. This half cent buys food that, when cooked, is equal to a quarter cup of food.

(They say here that Monday's 128k hits bought ten tons of food.)

Cool: Opera of Ben Katchor comic: http://www.nypress.com/print.cfm?content_id=389&author;_id=4

The opera is based on a single strip that appeared in Metropolis magazine last December. "The plot is that a delivery is made between two buildings," Katchor told me. "This takes an hour and a half... It's an incredibly short narrative arc. But it... analyzes those moments before this happened and as this is happening... We learn about two buildings that were sort of a phenomenon in architecture-the carbon copy. One building is put up using the exact plans of an earlier building. And they've both led different lives. That gets set up, and then a delivery gets made between the two. It's exactly the narrative of the strip it's based on. I just went into it at certain points and expanded what was happening."

"There's a music to speech," Katchor added. "It's set in time, it has a rhythm. And a composer tries to find whatever that secret rhythm is." [More recent Metropolis sequence]



Poll:

My PowerMac takes more than five minutes to boot fully, including all the applications I keep loaded. How long does your computer take to cold boot, from hitting the ON switch until you can start your first new task? (I'd like good data on this, so please time the actual process before answering, even if it takes a few days to get around to.)
View results



WebLog Archives (by lunar fortnight):

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